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H.R.H. Hardcover – October 31, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Poor Christianna, princess of Liechtenstein. Fettered by duty and tradition, her existence is an "achingly boring" slog of ribbon cuttings and state dinners, further straitened by her ever-present retinue of bodyguards and the specter of paparazzi. She longs to do something meaningful with her life; opportunity knocks when she gets a chance to volunteer at a Red Cross AIDS clinic in Africa. Bodyguards in tow, Christianna ministers to the diseased, while colleagues and African peasants alike bask in her royal glow: after all, "she was both grace and gentleness itself." There's even a handsome Doctor Without Borders to fall in love with, but alas! her father forbids her to marry a "commoner." There are further obstacles, and further global adventures. The cast is bland, the incidental shopping perfunctory, the sex tasteful and appropriate. Christianna's cousin Victoria—ditzy and decadent in her jeans and tiara—makes a tantalizing cameo, but Steel (550 million copies sold) spends a great deal of time on the details of Christianna's jet-set activism ("she stayed away from dairy products in Africa"). (Oct. 31)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The latest novel by the prolific Steel follows the fortunes of the young, wealthy, and beautiful Princess Christianna, the cosseted daughter of the prince of a small European nation. Returning to the kingdom after four years spent studying in America (followed everywhere by bodyguards), the princess chafes in her gilded cage and rails against the responsibilities and insignificance of her duty-bound royal life. Determined to make a difference in the world, she successfully petitions her father to be allowed to volunteer for the Red Cross and soon finds herself in East Africa working alongside doctors and other volunteers providing relief services to AIDS victims. Inevitably, in Africa she meets and falls in love with a handsome Harvard-educated doctor and is quite happy for the first time in her life, doing hard but meaningful work and spending time with her soul mate. When violence intrudes upon this idyll, Christianna must return home, where her father promptly quashes the relationship with the commoner. As the two lovers pine for each other from opposite ends of the earth, a series of events is unleashed leaving the princess in charge of her own destiny and ultimately reuniting the pair. Steel's fans will be waiting for this one. Kathleen Hughes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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I found myself getting annoyed with the princess's constant complaining about her royal duties. Being born royal, rich and privileged never seemed a hardship to me. Add to that her "humanitarian" adventures where absolutely no one can know who she is, but her 2 bodyguards travel everywhere with her and you begin to wonder if Ms. Steele really thought this one through. It never really seemed to come together. However, in all fairness, I liked the unusual twist with her father and brother and the ending which still seemed difficult to believe. I found myself thinking of Cinderella with a modern twist. Sorry Danielle